On North Korea, a Return to Fire and Fury Isn’t Worth The Risks

On North Korea, a Return to Fire and Fury Isn't Worth The RisksA couple of years ago the Trump administration seemingly brought the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war. The president matched North Korea’s Supreme Leader insult for insult, sent what he called the “armada” off of the North’s coast, and threatened “fire and fury.” The consequences of a conflict most likely would have been catastrophic, especially for America’s ally, the Republic of Korea.Happily, negotiation rather than shooting occurred. Contra claims that Washington was played or fleeced, the North ended missile and nuclear testing and Kim Jong-un began acting like a normal statesman. Kim started meeting foreign leaders, and Pyongyang put its Yongbyon nuclear facility up for closure. Before the Hanoi summit, between Kim and Trump, Pyongyang reportedly had agreed to a peace declaration and opening of liaison offices. These steps toward normalization would have benefited America and the ROK as well as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Moreover, Pyongyang agreed to further repatriation of the remains of Americans killed during the Korea War.Still, the ultimate destination of the Kim-Trump “friendship” admittedly was uncertain. The president’s certitude that the latest in the Kim family line to rule the DPRK was prepared to fully disarm almost certainly was misplaced. Indeed, the behavior of President Trump and his predecessors made denuclearization an ever more distant possibility.

 

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